For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable

from Isaiah 43:7:
“…bring my [children]
everyone who is called by my NAME,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

This snagged me on a hook out of Unlocking the Heart of the Artist; see, I’ve started asking God what God wants me, as an artist, to be doing. “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” of course… glorifying has extra sparkle and zing as a creative. Still and all, a few more specifics would comfort me.

In the middle of meditating on the passage, and on my desire for specifics (!), my brain slid sideways. To stick my tongue in this gap again: God, where am I supposed to be on the continuum between art as a practice and art as a business?

Art as practice? I’m good here. Not “good” as in “have perfected,” but “good” as in: I understand how to operate here. I like to think I’m even gaining more practice-behaviors lately…which are, as far as I can tell, not very different than the ones for prayer-practice and Bible-study-practice. I have a repertoire here!

Art as business I’m all over in theory. “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is,” (Yogi Berra). And there’s the sore spot. Poetry has never been a lucrative format. The frictionless information-sharing of the Internet has rendered what appears to me to be a vast oversupply…at minimum because few were paying before and the volume has swelled a hundredfold or more. Spending time and attention on my usual art form does not look as if it will return cash for the investment.

I guess the missing piece is: what is my responsibility to my family in all this? When the girls lived here, it seemed my having impressive time flexibility was a valued trade for not bringing home cash. And there were enough reinforcing events and circumstances to give my behavior a flavor of divine approval. Now it doesn’t seem to bring value. And while I think I’m heading in a good direction, divinely speaking, I’m super unsure…it’s early days yet, after all. And look at Emily Dickinson, for crying out loud! She published not even a handful of works while alive. Recognition, cash, visibility, today, tomorrow, one hundred years from now…

What worth am I supposed to be bringing to our table?
How does God want me to share God’s glory?


*title verse: Romans 11:29

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